This year the trend changed and all holidays were rather lively around here. The Wednesday before New Year six people were here at once, with ten the first hour. In wine storage time, these are hopping numbers. It was very exciting!
One stunning wine and one Champagne were enjoyed over the holiday, both contributions way more generous than even the season invites. One day I'll need to get many, many people here free psychiatric evaluations. In the meantime:
1998 Joseph Phelps Napa valley Cabernet
When this was handed to me, the gentleman said, "This is probably dead. Just pour it down the sink." I looked at it and thought, no way, it's probably drinking amazingly. It was. It could have hung out for a few more years but what made it so good now was how intact the fruit was. Most of the older California Cabs, the early 'nineties, the fruit is way more faded. Still good, mind you, it's just that it was really pleasant to have such a showing of fruit with the other benefits of aging, is all. This was really good.
Pierre Peters "Cuvee de Reserves" Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne.
Okay, so, here it is: I don't really get Champagne, or its necessity on earth. I know, I'm sorry, and there are so many people here who love the stuff. I do happen to recall one Champagne I had that I really liked though I don't know what it was. I read once that most people don't like it because their first Champagne experience is at a wedding where it is paired with wedding cake, a grande culinary faux pas that has the power to turn you off to the stuff forever! It is best paired with salty foods, which is why, in The Seven Year Itch, Marilyn Monroe claimed Champagne and potato chips "crazy!" ("Good!")
Of course this Champagne is Good! because the guy who gave it to me doesn't have anything less than. I mean I knew I was drinking good Champagne but it was still Champagne. It was pleasant, I enjoyed it. Then I decided to try it, it turns out, as god intended it to be enjoyed. It was P-E-R-F-E-C-T. I've never had any food - wine combo where the one folded into the other so seamlessly. Which of course winos do all the time, it's the whole point and what separates the genteel from the troglodyte. I'm not sure I'm a newly-hatched Champagne person, but the experience of wine-done-right was a revelation.
The holidays are over and now we all get to hibernate for the winter. If the Joseph Phelps cab or the Pierre Peters Champagne are any indication, that's a pretty good way to spend it. Cheers